Review: Austentatious, Leicester Square Theatre

“Shall I put some cucumber on it”

This latest edition of Austentatious was part of London Book & Screen Week so before the usual contributions of (fake Austen scholar) Professor Sam Patten, we were treated to a chat with (real Austen scholar) Professor Kathryn Sutherland around her work on Austen’s teenage writing (soon to be published) and touching on the woman herself, including some amusing bon mots about our lack of portraits of her and an inadvertent suggestion of what should have been the title for the evening – Bum and Bonnet.

As it was, we were treated to Trump and Trepidation, which offered a fascinating spin on the usual improvised shenanigans as it meant that there was a ready made world of insanity to be relentlessly mocked as well as the made up one that the company creates on the spot. It was an interesting tension (I do object to being made to consider Spicer or Conway characters capable of redemption!) but one that was predictably hilarious as Lord Trump celebrated his victory over Mr Sanders in the race to join the Hampshire parish council by trying to force his daughter to marry him instead of her true love Spicer.

Highlights included the Regency version of Twitter, the put-upon wall builder Paul Wall, and the highly swoonworthy leader of the Cumbria parish council Mr Trudeau. But the real magic comes in the unexpected and often surreal turns that emerge – the slight obsession with cucumber, the dangerous vortex that was the pool table, the speed and humour with which a spilled glass of water was dealt with. Austentatious are just so consistently good at what they do, I just can’t imagine ever getting tired of watching these guys.





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